Agat-Umatac Road contractor fired - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Agat-Umatac Road contractor fired

by Nick Delgado

Guam - The Department of Public Works has fired the contractor tasked to make repairs to the Agat-Umatac Road after they were found to be in violation of local and federal regulations.

"This is a pretty serious issue for us," said Joanne Brown. "It's not something we do everyday and this is certainly one of the first time in recent history DPW's taken this action on a contractor, it's a very serious, serious step."

DPW director Joanne Brown says an investigation is underway after the agency terminated the contract with Hubtech International Corporation last week. The company was contracted under a $1.8 million bond for the Route 2 culverts and slide repair project. Brown says concerns were raised because the project was significantly behind schedule, saying, "We had concerns with regards to the quality of work that was being done on the project, the contractor had until December of last year to complete the project and we are over that timeframe."

Apparently the contractor only completed 28% of the entire project. And Brown says the more they scrutinized, the more they uncovered. "There was a joint inspection done with federal highway and DPW and it came to light that the contractor was using non-US Steel material on the project," she said.

Hubtech was canned for intentionally and wrongfully using foreign steel from Korea - a blatant violation of the terms of the contract, not to mention local and federal laws.  It's an issue that Brown says could jeopardize nearly a half-million dollars already spent on the work that was done. "The portions of the project that Federal Highway feels very much is in violation of their requirements more than likely that portion of that project will not pay for," she told KUAM News.

Last month the Guam Environmental Protection Agency issued a stop-work order to the company after finding that Hubtech failed to mitigate adequate erosion control measures.

And because of the company's negligence, there's now a question of who will foot the bill for the work that's been done so far. "We've already received initial word from Federal Highway that because of that they more than likely will not pay for the work that's was done," Brown noted.

"If it's not quality work and it's not up to spec, then I don't have any interest in picking up the bill."

Hubtech was also accused of being engaged in actions and conducting work in violation of OSHA standards. Despite DPW counseling the company over the past few months, Brown says they continued to display poor workmanship. Hubtech was ordered to transfer the title, materials and appliances to the government and remove their personnel from the site to avoid criminal prosecution. Brown says the fate of the project now lies with the bond company.

"We are in discussions with the insurance company that holds the bond on the project, we did meet with them last week, we discussed our issues and concerns, we turned over all our documentation that they needed for their review," she said. "We anxiously await to sit down with them and find out what the determination is on how we can proceed because it's very critical that we get that project completed."

Hubtech has not been awarded any other projects for the DPW Highway Division and Public Works will now have to wait for the bond company to select a new contractor before the project can proceed.

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